At the heart of marketing

Companies can appeal to the emotions of their consumers not only through advertisements but also by following higher principles that make their brand stand out

POORNIMA KAVLEKAR

Perry Cross Road, Bandra, Mumbai, was the highlight of our four-day holiday in Mumbai. For more than half-an-hour on a blazing Saturday afternoon, we waited outside door number 19-A! No prizes for guessing, it’s the residence of the Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar.  But, no, it’s not me, but my eight-year-old son’s fanaticism for cricket and hero worship for Tendulkar, which made us roast there. Convincing him to leave with just a photograph of himself outside the cricketer’s residence was a tough task.  Apart from Tendulkar, he does have other favourites amongst cricketers like M. S. Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Virender Sehwag.  The reason I am dwelling so much on this is because of an important marketing lesson driven home by my son, to me. One day, I noticed a change in his routine session of drinking milk in the morning. From being a staunch Milo drinker, he made me switch to Boost energy drink and solemnly promised to drink it forever! And he has been keeping that promise to this day. Enlightenment dawned on me when I saw a Boost advertisement that very same day. I realised that Boost was being endorsed by most of his favourite cricketers as a reliable source of their awesome energy. All his favourite players on screen, emotionally overwhelming for any aspiring eight-year-old cricketer, wouldn’t you say?

What’s interesting is that, a few days later, as I was sitting through a three-hour session on marketing by the legend Philip Kotler and this very aspect was highlighted. Many concepts and trends were discussed, but, his observation on the changes in the focus of marketing caught my attention. Talking about marketing 3.0, Kotler observed that earlier, many companies tried to create an appeal in the consumer’s mind, by selling the idea of superior performance. However, over time, they have moved from creating an appeal to the mind to appealing to the heart as well. He talked of P&G’s detergent advertisement where two women – one using P&G’s detergent and the other using a different detergent wash clothes in the washing machine and P&G’s detergent makes the clothes cleaner. That, he says is the appeal to the mind. To create an emotional appeal, they brought babies into the advertisement.

Talking of emotions, I am a sucker for hair oil advertisements – Marico’s Parachute being my all time favourite brand- that dwells on the mother and daughter relationship. It touches a chord as I relate it to my relationship with my daughter.  Many editions back, we did a story on how product manufacturers who target Indian women are adapting their communication techniques to retain consumer connect. Karishma Parekh, direct and relationship marketing professional says that as consumers, buyers, advocates, influencers, decision makers – one key feature is that women are more involved in the purchase as compared to men. A woman also gives greater importance to a product that benefits not only her but her entire family which is actually her emotional anchor.

Be it a woman or a child, marketers have understood the need to emotionalise their reach to their target audience.

Furthermore, a company need not appeal to the emotions through advertisements alone.  It can reach out through its policy and its practices too. Like Kotler says, define the purpose of your company. Making money alone is not good enough. The company should develop a stand not just a brand; or a brand that stands for something. Here I recall a company that we wrote about – Chennai-based Krya Consumer Products LLP. While the founders of the company believe in leading an eco-friendly life, they extended their belief and made it the foundation of their company.  Krya creates environmentally sustainable consumer products like detergent. This is a direct appeal to those who want to contribute towards sustaining the environment. The founding duo are not very concerned about competition and  they believe that it is only a matter of time before eco-friendly products are accepted on a larger level as everyone is concerned about the environment.

Our editor, in his note, has written about a point made by Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems and managing partner, Khosla Ventures, at the Nasscom Product Conclave held in Bengaluru. Khosla advised entrepreneurs, especially those running consumer-focused businesses, to bear in mind that an emotional connect with the audience is critical. And to understand this better, he recommends the book titled Fascinate, written by Sally Hogshead. The book talks about what triggers fascination in people and how consumers and enterprises put these triggers to use.

Oh, I understand these triggers just fine, especially with my son’s loyalty shifting from Milo to Boost. I am no advertising expert, but, in the future, if I connect with an advertisement and if the product appeals to me on all levels – with respect to the value it delivers and its price points – and I have the need for it, I will opt for it! With my emotions in check!

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